Bern helps Turkey and Armenia make progress

Switzerland has acted as a mediator for a framework agreement between Turkey and Armenia to normalise relations, after nearly a century of hostility.

This content was published on April 23, 2009 - 14:52

A statement from the foreign ministry in Bern said the two countries had been working "intensively" with the aim of normalising their bilateral relations, which would promote peace security and stability in the region.

The statement, also issued by Ankara and Yerevan, added the two states had achieved "tangible progress" and a road map had been identified.

The announcement, which has been welcomed by Washington, came on the eve of the April 24 commemoration of mass killings of Armenians in 1915.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks but denies that up to 1.5 million people died as a result of genocide.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey confirmed her role as a mediator earlier this month after meeting officials from the two countries and United States President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a United Nations conference in Turkey.

The Swiss House of Representatives parliamentary chamber, as well as the cantons of Vaud and Geneva, have recognised the killings as genocide. The Senate and the government have not done so.

swissinfo with agencies

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